A Spouse Visa Extension allows the spouse or partner of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK to remain in the country for a longer period of time. The extension is granted to those who are already on a Spouse Visa and want to continue living with their partner in the UK. The process involves meeting certain requirements and providing evidence to support the application. A successful application will result in an extended visa period, giving the individual the right to work, study and live in the UK. In this article, we will discuss the key information regarding the Spouse Visa Extension, including the eligibility criteria, the application process, and the requirements that must be met to obtain an extension.

What is a spouse visa extension?

Non-EEA residents who are currently living in the UK under a Spouse Visa can apply for a Spouse Visa extension if they wish to continue living with their partner in the UK after their initial visa period expires. The Spouse Visa extension has a duration of 30 months or 2.5 years, just like the initial visa. Upon expiration, individuals can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status, which may ultimately lead to British citizenship.

To be eligible for the Spouse Visa extension, applicants must satisfy similar requirements to the original Spouse Visa. This includes providing evidence of a genuine relationship with their spouse/partner and an intention to continue living together in the UK. Additionally, in most cases, applicants will need to demonstrate a combined income with their partner of at least £18,600 per year.

Spouse visa extension requirements

To be eligible for an extension of a Spouse Visa, the requirements vary based on the individual’s specific circumstances, but providing proof of a genuine relationship with their partner is a universal condition.

For an extension to be granted, the partner or spouse of the applicant must be a British citizen or have settled status, such as Indefinite Leave to Remain, in the UK. It is also possible to apply for an extension if the partner has refugee status or humanitarian protection status in the UK.

Applicants must provide evidence that their relationship is genuine and recognized in the UK, either through a marriage or civil partnership, or a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership that has lasted for at least two years.

In addition to demonstrating a genuine relationship, most applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A combined income with their partner/spouse of at least £18,600 per year
  • No violation of any immigration condition or law
  • Ability to fulfill English language requirements
  • Meeting the character suitability standards

It is important to note that individual circumstances may affect eligibility, and that meeting the requirements does not guarantee the extension of the visa. Supporting documentation must be provided to demonstrate eligibility, and biometric information may be required.

Spouse visa extension financial requirements

In order to meet the financial requirement for a Spouse Visa extension, it is necessary for you and your spouse or partner to have a combined annual income of at least £18,600. If you have a dependent child, this minimum requirement increases to £22,400, with an additional £2,400 for each additional child under the age of 18 who is dependent on you or your partner.

To fulfill the minimum income threshold, you may use either your spouse or partner’s salaried or self-employed income, or your own income where you have permission to work in the UK. You are also able to combine income from various sources, such as pension income or maternity allowances. Alternatively, you may use cash savings above £16,000 to meet the requirement instead of income.

 

The CGM App is for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

 

In certain circumstances, such as if your spouse or civil partner is receiving a specified benefit or allowance, such as Disability Living Allowance or Carer’s Allowance, you may be exempt from meeting the financial requirement in the form of a minimum income threshold.

As this is a complex area with other acceptable sources of funds, it is recommended to seek professional guidance based on your specific circumstances.

Financial requirement exemptions

The financial aspect is an important component of many Spouse visa applications, but there are certain circumstances where individuals are exempt from fulfilling this requirement to remain in the UK.

If your partner (sponsor) is receiving any of the following benefits, you will not be required to meet the financial threshold:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit
  • Police Injury Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under War Pensions Scheme

However, it is essential to note that this is only one aspect of the Spouse visa application process. Other eligibility requirements, such as proving a genuine relationship and meeting the English language and character suitability conditions, still apply.

Character suitability requirements

Character suitability requirements are a set of criteria that individuals applying for a Spouse Visa extension must meet in order to prove their good character. These requirements are assessed by the Home Office and include factors such as criminal convictions, previous immigration violations, and any history of deception or dishonesty.

To meet the character suitability requirements, applicants must have a clean criminal record and must not have breached any UK immigration laws in the past. Any previous immigration violations or refusals may be taken into account when assessing an application for a Spouse Visa extension.

Applicants must also provide accurate and truthful information throughout the application process, and any instances of providing false or misleading information can result in the application being refused or the individual being barred from entering the UK in the future.

Overall, meeting the character suitability requirements is an important aspect of the Spouse Visa extension application process, and it is essential that applicants ensure they have a clean record and provide accurate information to avoid any potential issues.

English language requirement

In 2017, the Home Office implemented changes regarding the English language test that all Spouse Visa applicants must take. These changes require applicants to provide evidence of an A2 level of proficiency in speaking and listening, as outlined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

While some individuals were exempt from taking the test when applying for their initial Spouse Visa, they may need to take it when applying for an extension. It is important to note that the test must be taken at an approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider centre, which can be found in various locations throughout the UK.

If the test is not taken at an accredited centre, the certificate will not be recognized, and the extension application will be denied.

English language test exemption

There are some applicants who are exempted from taking the English language test. These include:

  • Individuals who are nationals of an English-speaking country.
  • Those who hold a degree or a higher qualification from an institution that is recognized by UK NARIC, where the teaching and research were conducted in English.
  • Applicants who are below the age of 18 or over the age of 65.
  • Individuals with a long-term physical or mental condition that prevents them from meeting the requirement.

Spouse visa extension fee

To apply for a spouse visa extension from within the UK, you will need to pay an application fee of £1033 as of January 2021. Additional costs may include the fee to enrol your biometric information, which is £19.20 as of January 2021, as well as any fees associated with the English language test or translation of documents.

Additionally, you may be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is a mandatory fee that provides access to the National Health Service for the duration of your stay in the UK as a spouse visa holder.

Fast-track processing options such as priority and super priority processing may be available for an additional fee, but applicants should be aware that these services have been affected by COVID and should check for availability before applying.

 

The CGM App is for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Spouse visa extension form

The Spouse Visa extension form is the online application form that must be completed by those who wish to extend their stay in the UK as a partner or spouse of a British citizen or settled person. The form is officially known as the FLR (M) form, which stands for “Further Leave to Remain (Marriage)”. It is available on the UK government website and must be completed with accurate information and supporting documentation. The FLR (M) form is used to apply for an extension of stay as a partner or spouse, as well as to switch to a Spouse Visa from another type of visa.

What to do after spouse visa extension has been accepted?

Once your Spouse Visa extension application has been approved, you will be granted a new visa with a duration of either 2.5 years or 2 years and 9 months, depending on how long you have already been in the UK on a Spouse Visa.

During the validity of your visa, you will have the right to work and study in the UK. You will also be able to apply for settled status or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) once you have met the eligibility criteria.

If you have been in the UK for five years on a Spouse Visa, you may be eligible to apply for ILR. This will allow you to remain in the UK permanently, with the right to work and access public funds.

You can also apply for British citizenship once you have held ILR for at least 12 months. This will entitle you to a British passport and the full rights and privileges of a British citizen.

It is important to keep in mind that you must comply with all UK immigration laws and conditions during the validity of your visa, including informing the Home Office of any changes to your circumstances, such as changes in address or employment.

Spouse visa extension refused?

If your Spouse Visa extension is refused, you may be able to challenge the decision through an administrative review or an appeal.

An administrative review involves asking the Home Office to review their decision. This is only available if there is evidence of a case working error, such as a mistake in the application process or failure to consider evidence submitted with the application.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the administrative review, you may be able to appeal the decision to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) within 14 days of receiving the review decision. You will need to provide grounds for the appeal and may need to attend a hearing.

It is important to seek legal advice if your Spouse Visa extension is refused to determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances.

Conclusion

In conclusion, applying for a Spouse Visa extension can be a complex process, and it is important to ensure that all requirements are met in order to increase the chances of a successful application. Meeting the financial, English language, and character suitability requirements are crucial, and it is advisable to seek professional guidance on individual circumstances. If a Spouse Visa extension application is refused, there are options available, such as appealing the decision or making a new application. With careful preparation and attention to detail, it is possible to successfully extend a Spouse Visa and continue to live in the UK with a partner or spouse.

Frequently asked questions

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